Travis Jenson’s prosecutorial career is just beginning but you would not presume that based on this past year’s accomplishments. Travis has been with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office since November, 2015, and he has tried at least three Juvenile Crimes cases, 13 misdemeanor Justice Court cases, of which five were before a jury, and he has conducted and won three felony jury trials. Travis hit the ground running; eager to learn the basics and nuances of his Juvenile and Justice Court case load – taking every opportunity to prepare for increased responsibility. He is excited about his cases and the career path he has chosen. His response, when asked if he would like the opportunity to try a felony case is routinely, “Yes. Always.” In addition to all of this, Travis volunteers to assist his peers every opportunity he has. Felony trial attorneys routinely compliment him on his courtroom demeanor and his aptitude in trial. The reputation Travis has created is one of being a true prosecutor.
There are excellent attorneys and then there are those who excel to infinity and beyond to serve justice. Ms. McHood puts her heart and soul into every case; the countless hours, the commitment, and devotion she has for the law is remarkable. She never gives up, she never backs down, she is very detailed oriented, and minimal is not in her vocabulary. McHood is La Paz County's vertical prosecutor for the Arizona Auto Theft Association. She works side-by- side with victim services, and does not hesitate to lend a helping hand to anyone in our office. Due to Ms. McHood’s hard work, La Paz County was elected as a rural county to participate in the AATA grant (Arizona Auto Theft Authority). Besides being a great Attorney, she is a great human being. Ms. McHood sets examples, and is a wonderful asset for the office. Her knowledge is not limited and neither are her work ethics.
Garrett Whiting has been a prosecutor in the State of Arizona for over a decade, seven years of which have been with the Apache County Attorney’s Office. He handles a variety of cases from drug trafficking to sex crimes and homicide. Garrett excels not only in the fair administration of justice, but also in his dealings with victims of major crimes. Garrett has an excellent understanding of the criminal law and court precedent, and how to apply these principles to reach just results. He continues to be instrumental during our recent conversion to a new case management system and serves as a liaison for the attorney perspective while creating and implementing new processes and procedures. We are proud to have Garrett as a member of our prosecutorial team.
Jennifer Carper has been a prosecutor at Maricopa County Attorney's Office for almost eight years and assigned to the Sex Crimes Bureau for the past 3 years. In that time, she has earned the title of Assistant Bureau Chief, all the while handling a full and complex caseload. She sub-specializes in prosecuting cold cases: cases that have gone unsolved for years. Jenny is an outstanding prosecutor who, in the past year, has handled a full caseload of highly complex cases involving truly vulnerable victims. She has achieved success not only in trial, but through her interactions with the victims both inside and outside of the courtroom—imbuing them with the knowledge that their cases are important and in the hands of a competent and caring professional.
Assistant Appeals Bureau Chief Gary Shupe has been with the Phoenix City Prosecutor’s Office for 18 years. For the past sixteen years, he has been assigned to the Appeals Bureau. Gary has represented the Prosecutor’s Office in over 300 appeals in state courts. He has worked on a variety of criminal and constitutional issues. He has argued before the Court of Appeals four times and twice before the Arizona Supreme Court. Gary even managed to convince the Arizona Supreme Court to reverse the Court of Appeals in favor of the State’s position in a criminal case, obtained a published opinion that underage drinking and driving is not eligible for a jury trial, and defended the constitutionality of the carrying a concealed weapon statute.
During some lean staffing years in Appeals, Gary led the Bureau, cranked out multiple motions and appeals, mentored new attorneys and law students, and answered frantic mid-trial questions all with a level of calm and composure that was impressive. One would never know the staggering workload that Gary accomplished to speak with him. Gary continues to serve as a trainer, mentor, and resource while carrying a heavy appellate case load.
Gary graduated from the Valparaiso University School of Law in 1998.
Coconino County Deputy County Attorney Blaine Donovan is lead attorney for the Misdemeanor and Juvenile Units. He has been with the Coconino County Attorney’s Office for nearly nine years. Blaine has introduced many fine young lawyers to the practice of misdemeanor prosecution. He teaches, coaches and mentors the young attorneys. He can hold forth on the intricacies of DUI law, the nuances of Game & Fish violations, the loose dog cases, domestic violence and the ever popular criminal speed. All this plus he is a font of wisdom on all things sports and a die-hard AZ Cardinals fan! We are fortunate have such a great guy introducing our office and the profession to our new lawyers. He does all this without drawing attention to himself. We want Blaine to know that his outstanding contribution is noticed and appreciated.
APAAC's spotlight this month is on Deputy County Attorney Ashley Schneider of the Pima County Attorney's Office, who prosecutes animal welfare cases, and is assigned to Pima County Consolidated Justice Court, Precinct 9 - Animal Welfare Court. One of the more high profile cases Ashley prosecuted began in 2013, when a mountain lion was spotted by Colossal Cave Park employees inside the park. It was a hot day, and the lion was sitting in a shaded area near the visitor's center. It was not being aggressive or harming anyone. Arizona Game and Fish was called because it was unusual for a lion to get that close to humans. Game and Fish responded and had the park put up signs warning visitors to be careful because a lion had been spotted in the park.
Game and Fish spoke with a worker at the park and the worker kept asking if they could kill the lion. Officer Martin Guerena with Arizona Game and Fish Department warned park employees not to shoot/kill the mountain lion unless someone was in imminent danger of death or physical injury. The park employee mentioned the sighting to Defendant, Richard Dailey, a nearby rancher. Dailey didn't like the mountain lion being near his ranch, although before the incident it had never killed any of his cattle (another mountain lion killed his cattle after he killed the mountain lion in this case). Dailey enlisted help from Martin Foersterling and the two men set out in the park to track the lion; and tracked it to a campsite, where they used a predator call whistle to lure the mountain lion. The lion responded to the whistle and Dailey shot the lion, killing it.
After an investigation by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Dailey was charged with Taking Wildlife without a Tag, Taking Wildlife without a Valid License, Taking Wildlife in a Closed Area, and Taking Wildlife by an Unlawful Method; Foersterling was charged with Illegally Taking Wildlife without a Tag, and Taking Wildlife in a Closed Area. At trial, the defense argued that the defendants were in imminent danger because the lion had rabies. They also argued that the defendants had permission from a park employee to shoot the lion. There was no evidence that the lion had rabies or was a threat, and there was no evidence that a park employee gave Dailey permission to shoot the lion. Ultimately, Ashley prevailed and both defendants were convicted.
Senior Mohave County Deputy County Attorney Rod Albright doesn’t just know his way around the courtroom; he knows his way around the world. As a child, Rod lived for 12 years in four different countries in Africa. Even before joining the Marine Corp, he traversed the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans several times, visiting more countries. During his 20 years as a JAG officer, Rod saw the rest of the world. During his 12 years in the Mohave County Attorney’s Office, Rod has also seen every kind of case covered by the criminal code. Despite his heavy caseload, laden with serious cases, Rod always has time to discuss issues with other prosecutors and work with new attorneys whenever they need help. Outside of work, Rod continues his travels: He recently returned from North Dakota, ticking the 50th state he has visited off his bucket list.
Heather Zapata & Roi Lusk
Meet Heather Zapata and Roi Lusk, the Tucson City Prosecutor’s Office’s Project Manager and Deputy Project Manager for our transition from paper files to JustWare case management software and paperless operation! Both are seasoned prosecutors in the office with a wide variety of experiences prosecuting all manner of misdemeanors. Heather and Roi have pulled out the stops on the JustWare project, and are re-writing the way we do business at all levels for a better office and better prosecution. They have instructed, managed vendors, rolled out hardware, written code (seriously!), established new policy and work flow and beyond. And all this while managing a smooth transition with some serious change for staff and attorneys alike. We are terribly proud of Heather’s and Roi’s dedication to our office, community and justice! Thanks guys!
Jesse Delaney has been a criminal prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud and Abuse (HCF) Section in Tucson since March, 2011 after years of excellent work at the Pima County Attorney’s Office. Jesse is well known for being a passionate prosecutor for vulnerable adult victims. Jesse prosecutes cases where the offender has preyed upon vulnerable adults who have been physically mistreated and/or financially exploited by those individuals paid to provide them care. It is well known in criminal prosecutor circles that successfully prosecuting these cases presents unique challenges since the victims in these cases are often not available to be witnesses in court. Jesse has worked diligently to overcome the challenges these cases present by making it a practice to work with the investigators who specialize in these cases at the earliest possible time.
Jarrod B. Long
Prosecutor Jarrod Long has been with Yavapai County since 2004. During his 11 years with the office, he gained trial experience in both justice court and superior court. In 2010, he was promoted to supervisor and took the reins of the office’s charging unit, which he leads today. Under Jarrod’s leadership, YCAO worked closely with superior court, law enforcement and the local defense bar to streamline the county’s early disposition court (EDC) process, with excellent result. Between 60% and 70% of all felony cases filed are now resolved by Jarrod’s team in the charging unit (or as he likes to call it, “The Bureau”), freeing up time for trial attorneys to handle the more complex cases. Jarrod has no regrets about leaving a lucrative career in the private legal sector, stating “every day’s a good day when you’re doing the right thing.”
Eric Speelmon is an Assistant Prosecutor II who has been with the Mesa Prosecutor’s Office since 1999. He was the first intern from BYU who in the summer of 1997 tried over 150 bench trials and 3 jury trials. That experience led to his first job as a deputy county attorney in Gila County before coming to Mesa. Eric has prosecuted every type of misdemeanor crime in Mesa, focusing for several years on domestic violence cases. He has trained law student interns and new prosecutors, taught at the Mesa Police Academy, been the sole in-custody court prosecutor, and completed nearly 70 jury and over 1,000 bench trials (including a former judge for shoplifting) during his career.
When asked many times over the years when he was going into private practice, Eric’s response has always been, “As soon as I dislike my job.” After 16 years, Eric is still here!